Down the street – Samarai, PNG

Well as you can see I’ve lapsed once again with getting my images uploaded. I think the secret is to post every two or three days. I’ve now got three other blogs on the go (family history, books and local history) so they’re keeping me pretty busy.

However I’ve also committed to following the 2013 A to Z Challenge. In 2012 I did this on my Family History Across the Seas blog but this year I’m going to post using this blog, Tropical Territory. My response to the series will be all about places in the Top End of Australia (mainly the NT Top End and sometimes northern WA or central Australia, NT) – a travelogue and photologue of some of Australia’s perhaps less well-known places.

In the meantime I’m going back to posting photos of our recent PNG trip. I’ve still got heaps of NT photos but I for one feel like a change. So join me as we walk down what used to be  the main street of Samarai for many years. It could get quite busy with the arrival of cruise ships, freighters and the Catalina flying boats.

When we visited Europe for the first time in the early 1970s, the only people who had any idea where PNG was, were the Greeks, precisely because their ships had come along that route.

Street Samarai1 copy

As you see the main street now looks rather deserted though in fact there’s still an active community on the island. It’s “just” that many of the services have gone.

The Old Steamships store

The Old Steamships store

Mr Cassmob remembers the day when, as a small boy, he heard voices under their house. On inspection he discovered a couple of women from one of the cruise ships happily searching through his family’s shell collection, blissfully unaware that they were trespassing on his family’s property and garden. They enquired in rather staccato English, as if they were talking to the village idiot, how much the shells cost. He decided to sell them and make a bit of pocket money,but you have to wonder about people, don’t you?!

27 Old BP Store1

Burns Philp (BPs) and Steamships Trading Company both had thriving stores on the island and it was from them that our groceries and hardware were shipped, on order, to Alotau. The buildings remain but are essentially unused. The BP store is now being used like a market to see betel nut (buai) and sweet potato.

Although Mr Cassmob worked at these places during his school holidays he was remarkably sanguine about their current state of inactivity.

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